May 3, 2012

Events that change a life

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher

I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why.

Horrified, Clay Jensen doesn't want to listen. He hardly knew Hannah Baker. He tried to, but she never opened up to him. How can he be responsible for her suicide? But others have already heard the tapes. What did Hannah say about him? Even though he dreads the answer, he has to know. 

Clay spends the rest of the day and night listening to Hannah's voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. Hannah reveals a trail of  betrayals, secrets, and seemingly insignificant actions which, cumulatively, led her to decide to end her life. Its effect on Clay is devastating and ultimately life-changing.

This is a book that will haunt you. It makes you more aware of how people treat each other. There are consequences to every action, even if the giver is unaware of it. Clay doesn't know what the other people felt as they listened to the tapes, but at least one of them, Marcus, refuses to accept that he could be blamed for Hannah's suicide. In a way, you can understand Marcus' reaction. It can't be easy when you're the object of a person's revenge. Hannah herself is not free from guilt; you have to wonder about her own mental health, the health of her family, and her inability to ask for help.

At times, Asher's message can be a bit heavy-handed, but you cannot stop reading. Mesmerizing, addictive, and suspenseful, the book has been garnering high praise from both readers and critics. A very worthwhile read.

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